PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The neon fish that marks Wholey’s in the Strip District must come down, but the future of the fish is up to the public.

Finding a home for a fish 100 feet long is no easy task, but that’s exactly what the Wholey family is asking.

“That’s part of Pittsburgh. That’s part of the fabric. And we owe it to Pittsburgh to let them decide where that sign is going to go,” Jim Wholey said.

The $50,000 fish has been posted on the building since 1989, a couple blocks down from Wholey’s flagship store.

The building used to also be owned by Wholey’s, but was sold back in 2007 and is undergoing renovations, possibly developing into new condos.

Now, the fish must come down and that’s where the public comes in.

“As we look to the new, we don’t just want to throw out the old. We don’t want to throw out the smiling fish of Pittsburgh,” Mayor-elect Bill Peduto said. “You help us find the location. You get the permission from the property owner and then the city will help you to make it real.”

Peduto was the first to offer up an idea. He suggested the Heinz History Center which is just a couple blocks from the fish’s current location.

The Wholey family is hoping to keep the fish alive by even promising to pay for the installation and future electric bills.

“We owe it to Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh people are the reason we’re successful. And we owe it to them, to share this,” Wholey said.

The campaign for ideas runs from Dec. 23 until Jan. 31 and there are some rules. The fish must stay in Pittsburgh and the proper consent from the property owner is required. The location must also meet zoning ordinances.

So, what’s your suggestion for for a new home for the fish?

You can drop an idea into the red drop-box at Wholey’s in the Strip District. You can also suggest an idea on Wholey’s Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, @wholeys, using the hashtag “#smilingfish”. Lastly, you can e-mail ideas to smilingfishsign@gmail.com.


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